Professor Jagdish Sheth’s Digital Marketing Insights

“Digital Marketing is the future.” says renowned scholar and internationally recognized thought leader, Professor Jagdish Sheth.

Professor Jagdish N. Sheth has had an impressive career involving teaching at institutes like Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Illinois. The professor of marketing at Emory University has even consulted with some of the biggest global corporations, including General Electric, AT&T, and Ford, to name a few.

He has published more than 400 research papers and over 40 books on various disciplines and topics and is now penning his autobiography, The Accidental Scholar, which captures an eventful career—a boy from a business family who went on to realize his American dream.

Through the revolutionary insights that Professor Jagdish Sheth possesses on global competition, strategic thinking, geopolitics and emerging markets he is able to give timely advice to business leaders, and policy-makers who look to develop long-term strategies for the future.

We at Valasys Media had the pleasure of getting in touch with him to get to know his insights on Digital Marketing. Following are the edited excerpts from the interview.

Valasys Media – According to you, how much must the marketing funnel change to keep up with today’s digital buyer?

Professor Jagdish Sheth – The funnel in digital marketing has to be greater than other media because India is just rolling out smartphones and the 4G network. In addition, there is too much clutter to overcome. The exact ratio will vary by product category and strong brand pull.

Valasys – When planning a marketing strategy, how much of it must be focused on digital marketing?

Professor Sheth – Digital marketing is the future. However, it is not a mature market and so at this time; it should be no more than 25 percent of the total marketing communication budget. 

Valasys – Which digital marketing channel is best suited for lead generation?

Professor Sheth – Social media apps are the best direct marketing channel to use, closely followed by email marketing.

Valasys – What causes a digital marketing strategy to fail?

Professor Sheth – The main reasons for the failure of your digital marketing strategy is a lack of positioning, segmentation, and targeting. A second reason is lack of infrastructure including online payment and network infrastructure. The common problem faced by marketers is the layout and design of the marketing message. What works for print does not seem to work for digital media.

Valasys – Is there any secret to tackling and getting the most out of a social media marketing campaign?

Professor Sheth – The more you take a rifle approach, the better you are. This is because social media has a large number of subscribers. (In a rifle marketing approach, the marketer targets a clearly defined audience through clearly defined promotional strategies.) A shotgun approach will be less effective. (In a shotgun marketing approach, the marketer raises awareness about a product or service in a large broad-spectrum group of people rather than advertising to a specific demographic.)

This means doing a pre-launch analysis and testing on a small sample so as to make the proper adjustments to the campaign. It is more of an adaptive and dynamic process of trial and error.

Valasys – How important is content marketing in a digital marketing strategy?

Professor Sheth – Content marketing is useful but the cost of generating content or burying the content may not justify it.

Valasys – What would you say is the future of digital marketing?

Professor Sheth – Digital marketing is the fastest growing adverting, communication and promotion media. It is just a matter of time when it moves from a peripheral stage in communication to the core of marketing communication. What is really needed is an integrated marketing communication strategy which remains consistent across different media including digital media; with respect to timing and frequency.

Valasys – If there is anything you would like to add in the form of advice for digital marketers reading this, kindly do share the same.

Professor Sheth – You have no choice but to embrace digital marketing but at the same time, you should not abandon your traditional media. For example, Bharat Matrimony does a very good job of balancing digital and traditional marketing in their marketing strategy.


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